Oro Valley leaders on Wednesday will discuss the future of the Naranja Town Site.

In November, voters turned down a proposal to borrow $48 million to build a park on the 213-acre site.

Now town leaders hope to chart a new course for the long-discussed desert tract.

Plans to build a park at the town-owned site have been in the works since 2001.

The town bought the property in two transactions — the first, a 42-acre section for $950,000 in 1996, the second a 173-acre swath for $2.5 million in 2000.

In addition to the $3.5 million purchase price, town leaders have spent another estimated $759,000 in design and consultant fees related to the park plan.

On the council agenda for Wednesday’s study session, members will discuss numerous park options.

One proposal involves developing the property, perhaps as a park, with another local government or entity.

Possible partners listed include: Pima Community College, Amphitheater School District, Tucson Arts Center, Arizona State Parks and private businesses.

Another proposal includes phasing in park construction in seven installments while still following the park master plan proposed in the recent election.

The costs of those installments range from $3.1 million to $15.9 million. The total estimated cost is $59.3 million.

Since the plan that voters turned down included a property tax to pay for construction of the park, town leaders would have to find money elsewhere if they opted for the phased approach.

Some possible cash sources include: Pima County bonds, Heritage Funding through the state, transportation enhancement grants, National Park Service grants, private donation and federal funding.

Town leaders recently included the park on a list of projects that could receive money through President-elect Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan.

They requested $150 million to build the park.

Town council members could seek to put the park issue before the voters again in the future.

The property also could be used for entirely different purposes unrelated to the original park plan.

Town departments could use portions of the property for administrative buildings or training facilities.

Other plans include using portions of the land for a zoo, aquarium, recreational lake or ice-skating rink.

Lastly, town officials could decide to sell the land in sections for commercial or residential development.


WHAT: Town Council study session

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14

WHERE: 11000 N. La Cañada Drive

DETAILS: Town leaders will discuss options for its property at the Naranja Town Site; Oro Valley voters last fall rejected a plan to borrow $48 million to build a park there.

CONTACT: 229-4700

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